M.I.C.: Taking Care of Business5:00 AM
Within all the madness that was going on (See This Means War, and This Means War pt. II to catch up), I had called my in-laws. Clark's father was in the Corps at this time, not to mention a somewhat high ranking officer. I called asking for help, and no one had been available.
Later I had an e-mail from Clark’s mother, one that made me out to be the one who was wrong. “The Marine Corps is different than the Army.” That’s one saying I will never stop hearing from those in the Marines. “We’re different.”
His mother had, in fact, spoken to Staff Sergeant and he had been “nothing but strawberry shortcake,” to quote her. This only added to my anger and battle attitude.
The night after talking to Clark and First Sergeant, I sat down and wrote two complaints: one against the Staff Sergeant, the other against the First Sergeant.
I pulled all the facts, used “military language” and was ready to fight it to the end. Luckily I had a father in the military, so he knew how the system worked. He told me exactly what to do, specific sayings to use, and to demand consequences be enforced. I felt like such a bad ass, excuse the saying. I was ready to show those men that the dependent could be just as tough as the one’s they were training. I was ready to show them that I was just as important as my husband, and they shouldn’t mess with me. Above all, they shouldn’t mess with women who know how the system works, because then they really get in to trouble.
After a lot of tweaking here and there from me, my mom, and my dad, I submitted my IG (Inspector General) complaint. I only submitted one for the two men, but since they overlapped it seemed necessary. I asked for two full written apologies. Though I never received them, I later found out that once that complaint went through- my husband was untouchable. He didn’t get in trouble, because they knew if they slipped again I would be there ready to burry them.
The next morning my phone rang at six o’clock. Not recognizing the number, I was slow to respond. It rang again, and I picked up.
“Good morning, beautiful.” I heard on the other line.
“Hi.” Give me a break, it was early.
“I’m calling you from Staff Sergeant's personal cell phone to let you know that we are at the post office over-nighting you the money. Staff Sergeant is being very generous letting me do this.”
“Oh, I bet he is.”
“Is there anything else you need?”
“No, sweety, nothing else.”
“Ok, Staff Sergeant wishes to speak with you. I love you,” he said it robotically so I didn’t respond. I waited, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I would hear him. “I love you,” he repeated softly.
“I love you, too, baby.”
“I’ll write you soon.”
Staff Sergeant got on the phone. He gave me some explanation as to why the money hadn’t been sent out last night and blah blah blah. He asked if there was anything else I needed, and I smiled. “No, sir, that seems to be it for now.”
“Very well. Please let us know when you receive the money.”
This was before my complaint was sent in. Before he knew who he was messing with, and still I sensed it: fear. He was in trouble for lying to his superior, telling him he had spoken to me. He was in trouble for relaying personal information to next-of-kin of the recruit: Clark’s mother. He was in trouble, and it was all because of me, and I was so proud. Even before the complaint was sent in, before all was right and justified, he was scared. It was an amazing feeling.
I do understand their protocol. After all, there are wives out there who would empty the husband's bank account and leave them. There are girlfriend's out there who would want access to that money, possibly for the same reasons. There arem mothers, families, friends and acquaintances who would take advantage of the fact that the person was at bootcamp and the money was there, completely fair game. It's sad that's how things are these days. What I was so upset about was that they were treating me like a common day criminal. It felt as though it should have been a judgement call, but I guess Staff Sergeant or First Sergeant would have fallen if I had turned out to be one of "those" people. Seems to me, though, they took a fall anyway.
Clark's letters improved after that. He seemed to understand what was going on where I was, and that he needed to be on my side, not their side. After all, he had to come home to me-- they were only in his life for a 13 week period. While they may be shaping his golden career, I still had to come first in his life. It was a hard lesson to learn, especially at the ripe age of 20, but we never did anything the easy way.